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HQ 960074

June 17, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 960074 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6214.40.0000

Ms. Fiona Chau
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
1150 18th Street, NW
Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of a shawl; Heading 6214; Heading 6202

Dear Ms. Chau:

This is in response to your inquiry of December 11, 1996, requesting a tariff classification determination under the Harmonize Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a woman's upper body article of apparel. A sample was submitted for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The article at issue is a woman's rectangular shaped good with two slits on each side and extends from the neck and shoulders to the waist area. The article is constructed of 82 percent rayon/18 percent woven silk fabric. You describe the article as "a typical cape made out of thin translucent fabric with a velour pattern".


Whether the subject article is classifiable under Heading 6214, HTSUSA, or Heading 6202, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 6214, HTSUSA, provides for shawls, scarves, mufflers and mantillas. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6214, HTSUSA, state that shawls are usually square, triangular or circular and large enough to cover the head and shoulders. Heading 6202, HTSUSA, provides for overcoats, capes, cloaks, and similar coats.

Where appropriate, Customs consults lexicographic sources to aid in a tariff classification determination. Capes are defined in Mary Brooks Picken's, The Fashion Dictionary as "an outer garment, of any length, which hangs loosely from the shoulders and usually covers the back, shoulders and arms". The Random House Dictionary defines a cape as " a sleeveless garment of various lengths, fastened around the neck and falling loosely from the shoulders, worn separately or attached to a coat or other outer garment". The Random House Dictionary defines a shawl as "a square, triangular, or oblong piece of wool or other material worn, esp. by women, about the shoulders, or the head and shoulders, in place of a coat outdoors, and indoors as protection against chill or dampness".

In this case, the subject article is rectangular in shape, comprised of thin translucent textile materials, and is designed to be worn from the neck and shoulders to the waist area. The material is not heavy enough to allow the article to be worn for protection against extreme elements. The article's overall design and construction is more similar to a shawl instead of a cape. Therefore, the subject article is classifiable under Heading 6214, HTSUSA.


Assuming that the base fabric is silk, the subject article is classifiable in subheading 6214.40.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils, and the like; of artificial fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 7.4 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 659.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, The Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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